There must be something in the espresso. Italy is now awash with some truly amazing heavy music, providing the South of Europe with a much needed outpost in the doom-psych-stoner outback. This is not least down to the remarkable efforts of sterling world-levitators Ufomammut, stadium-sized cosmonauts Lento, swamp-land terrorists The Secret and a healthy bunch of other weird and wonderful amp-cranking outfits. From out of the darkness of the narrow doorways and along the cobbled footpaths of Rome now come Otehi; although on this remarkable album you could be forgiven for not considering them an entity born of this world or time.
‘Noisy Spirit’ is a brain-dirge of emotion and desolate landscapes, craning towards the sun of some far distant hope, all interwoven with a musical beauty long since left behind in the 1970s. A subtle blend of romping garage stoner-rock tone, hippy psychedelia and inter-galactic enchantment, the record is loosely arranged around a three-part grooving title-track with some more varied numbers thrown in around the perimeters. Macej “Wildhand” Mikolajczyk (bass/vocals), Domenico “Mastino” Canino (Guitar/Effects/vocals) and Vito “Vitus” Zito (drums) have not been together in their current guise for long, but clearly understand their own strengths and play to them whilst retaining a quirky and loose groove.
Opener ‘Monolith & Monolith’ is typical of the well-executed brand of desert groove, sand-dune bass and crashing cymbal waves that the trio have finely honed, before opening out into a passage of Colour Haze-esque psyche. The titular ‘Noisy Spirit’ track trio follows with a similarly weighted dose of hippy stomp and cosmic flare; its Amon Duul meets Hynos69 acid blowout, with Aboriginal edges, is both exciting and compelling whilst managing to be soothing and sensual all at the same time. ‘Savage Land’ is more immediate stoner rock, crashing its way through tumbleweeds and coyote skulls with a huge bassy lead riff and some righteous one-two cymbal smashes. ‘Leave Your Spirit’ and ‘Desert Rider’ feature more mysterious experimentation, like a timewarp portal to a long-lost Tibetan village occupied by a band of opium-doped monks, but still manages to retain a hefty groove.
Sure, the production is distinctly DIY, which the band fully disclose, and the background amp hiss, undermixed bass and overmixed crash are all laid naked and bare, but these imperfections add positively to this sublime release. With such an immediate and surprisingly enticing record, Otehi now need to build on these solid Roman foundations and I’d love to see them on the European live circuit soon. Like any fine ground roast, it’s warm and fruity but with a heavy and rough feel to the back of the throat. The spirit here is noisy indeed, so go sample a cup of Otehi today.
Label: Self Released
Scribed by: Pete Green